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La Sylphideinterpretations of Madge


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#31 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 03:15 PM

the interventional pas de trois is from the original Taglioni scheme so far as i can tell. it is a magical and mysterious in its way. the last act of LA BAYADERE originally included a similar pas de trois (or pas de deux a trois) when Nikiya comes phantomlike between Gamzatti and Solor in the last act as a Shade only Solor can see. the 'reconstruction' of this trio by Vikharev in his production of the ballet was one of its more memorable highlights: it's all shown in full light and yet one suspends disbelief and understands that only Solor can see this white-clad shadwo, if mem. serves in this act Nikya's Shade is costumed with the sleeve/veils of the ensemble Shades from the Kingdom of the Shades scene.


The Shade pas trois in the Paris "La Sylphide" wasn't originally there. Yet it was interpolated some ten years after the premiere by Taglioni from his own 3-Act ballet "L'Ombre" created for St. Petersburg.

Nikiya does indeed appear in her Shade costume during the trio with Gamzatti and Solor in the Vikharev reconstruction.

Nanarina, of course the current Paris Sylphide by Lacotte involved a great deal of research, but choreographically it is still in essence a pastiche from the 1970's, while interpretation-wise it doesn't carry the same weight of tradition as the Danish version.

#32 rg

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 04:29 PM

thanks for the correction, Marc, about the 'history' of this trio. i should have checked my books instead of depending upon my imperfect memory.

#33 Nanarina

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 07:54 AM

:clapping: Back to La Sylphide, I am trying to remember the production I worked on with Ballet Rambert, in the years before I went to The Royal Ballet. My memory is rather vague , but it can only be the Danish version I would think. I can remember that Madge was played by a Woman, and she was pretty scary, as were her associates. I think one could say they were evil. Certainly very different to Pierre Lacottes Madge. I must admit I do like the Paris version, the corp de ballet essemble's are beautiful, the music and steps converge as two rows of Dancers enter and move across , forming lines of different sizes, that finally meet in a wheel. the stage in gron jete
the well spaces groups, and clean lines of the choreography, is equisite.

I must admit I like very much the work of Pierre Lacotte. There is also another 20th century Choreographer I admire, that is Sir Peter Wright, formally Artistic Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet His Nutcracker is lovely, as well as Coppelia, and a production of Swan I I Lake., who has revived a number of the old classics, with great respect and authenticity to the original productions.

I must admit that I am not over keen on Nureyev's choreography, I find it a muddle of steps, too fussy, and lacking space and definition.
There seems to be no consideration foir the Dancers, to have breathing space, as he often put a step to every note, which must be almost inpossible to dance. I have read that many Dancers feel the same. Sorry if this has gone slightly off topic.

#34 innopac

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 01:02 PM

Interview with Sorella Englund. Dance Magazine. April 2010.

You are famous for your interpretation of Madge the Witch in La Sylphide. Do you coach men and women differently in that role?

Its about the personality of the human being dancing the role. There have been differences: Most men have a strong need to make it a power game, because their partner (James) is the same sex. Most women come with different ways of revenge, often more complex. I have never planned a different process for men and women. I could just see that it came out that way. Men have a huge dignity: I am stronger than you, and youre not kicking me out of this room! For women, it is a sexual rejection: I am not attractive. I have wondered what it would be like for me as Madge were James to be danced by a woman. Then I might make it a power game. Who are you with your skinny little waist to tell me what to do? I am older and wiser, so just go home and grow up! Its incredibly individual.



#35 leonid17

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 02:48 PM

Interview with Sorella Englund. Dance Magazine. April 2010.

You are famous for your interpretation of Madge the Witch in La Sylphide. Do you coach men and women differently in that role?

Its about the personality of the human being dancing the role. There have been differences: Most men have a strong need to make it a power game, because their partner (James) is the same sex. Most women come with different ways of revenge, often more complex. I have never planned a different process for men and women. I could just see that it came out that way. Men have a huge dignity: I am stronger than you, and youre not kicking me out of this room! For women, it is a sexual rejection: I am not attractive. I have wondered what it would be like for me as Madge were James to be danced by a woman. Then I might make it a power game. Who are you with your skinny little waist to tell me what to do? I am older and wiser, so just go home and grow up! Its incredibly individual.


I always thought that Niels Bjorn Larsen was entirely successful as Madge and I have never been convinced by the characterisation of any female in the role including Miss Englund.

#36 Anne

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 06:36 AM

Go and have a look at the video with Sorella Englund and Nikolaj Hbbe in La Sylphide, and I think you will be won over at the spot!

#37 leonid17

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 09:34 AM

Go and have a look at the video with Sorella Englund and Nikolaj Hbbe in La Sylphide, and I think you will be won over at the spot!


I have seen her live with the Royal Ballet on two occasions.

#38 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 11:28 AM

Englund's interpretations of how the sexes interpret Madge is quite all right, when you think of it. It may not be the same interpretation as everyone's, though. I recall Roseanna Seravalli in ABT's first complete Sylphide, and she made the old woman a mighty adversary! After all, she's an earth spirit, the opposite of the Slyph, an air spirit. Remember, Enrico Cecchetti created Carabosse, in part because she had to be a strong character, and also because she had to be PHYSICALLY strong. That coach that she entered in had only three wheels, and must have required a good deal of muscle just to hang on while miming rant!

#39 leonid17

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 01:15 PM

Erik Bruhn as Madge @ http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-vn3259011

#40 Anne

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 11:59 PM

Go and have a look at the video with Sorella Englund and Nikolaj Hbbe in La Sylphide, and I think you will be won over at the spot!


I have seen her live with the Royal Ballet on two occasions.


Well, then you can't be helped, I'm afraid :) . Did you ever see Jette Buchwald as Madge? She is a rather masculine witch with some of the wooden quality you also saw in Niels Bjrn Larsen (whom I have only seen on pictures, never live). Lis Jeppesen, the former sylph, also does Madge on stage nowadays, but she is maybe a too feminine and too fragile witch for my taste.


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